For Immediate Release
Addis Ababa--USAID and eight other organizations, the Maize Alliance, signed an agreement today to provide an integrated bundle of services to smallholder maize farmers in Ethiopia. While substantial investments from the government and development partners are being made, an integrated approach is necessary to unlock the potential in the maize value chain. This new alliance will assist maize farmers with a secure commercial market, access to finance, post-harvest handling and storage services, and efficient aggregation and commercialization services through farmers’ cooperative unions.
Joining USAID as members of the Maize Alliance are the World Food Programme/Purchase For Progress; Federal Cooperative Agency; Amhara Regional Cooperative Promotion Agency; Oromia Regional Cooperative Promotion Agency; Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region Bureau of Marketing and Cooperative; TechnoServe; Sasakawa Global 2000; and the Ethiopia Agricultural Transformation Agency.
Maize is Ethiopia’s most important cereal in terms of production, with 6.4 million tons produced in 2012 by nine million farmers. More than half of all Ethiopian farmers grow maize mostly for subsistence. The Government of Ethiopia has identified maize as one of its key cereals for focus to support Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan. Under the plan, productivity of major crops in envisioned to at least double, with smallholder farmer productivity being the major driver for change.
As part of the Maize Alliance, USAID, through its Agribusiness and Market Development project, intends to facilitate the execution of the contractual commitment between World Food Programme and the 14 farmers’ cooperative unions under its support. USAID will also provide technical training in pre and post-harvest handling, good warehouse management practices, warehouse upgrading and introduction of processing equipment where needed-subject to the continued availability of funding. Finally, USAID will coordinate with the Agricultural Transformation Agency and World Food Programme to facilitate access to financing for farmers’ cooperative unions to purchase the required amounts of maize as per the contract with World Food Programme.
Under President Obama’s $3.5 billion Feed the Future Initiative, USAID Ethiopia supports the Government of Ethiopia’s plans for the development of agriculture and nutrition with a number of projects totaling more than $250 million over five years. In support of the Government of Ethiopia’s commitment to country-led development programs, USAID’s Agribusiness and Market Development project uses a value chain approach to increase the competitiveness of selected agricultural products; enhance access to finance; and stimulate innovation and private sector investment. Targeted value chains include wheat, maize, sesame, beans and pulses, coffee, and honey.
USAID is helping Ethiopia transform its economy and society toward middle income status, coordinating its efforts closely with the Government of Ethiopia, other donors and civil society.
Mission Director Dennis Weller Remarks, [PDF, 258kb]
Last updated: February 24, 2014